Friday, June 1, 2012

Shelagh's place



I have just read the smartest thing. It applies to how I've been thinking lately and I thought it might apply to you, as well.

 “There is a story of a woman running away from tigers. She runs and runs and the tigers are getting closer and closer. When she comes to the edge of a cliff, she sees some vines there, so she climbs down and holds on to the vines. Looking down, she sees that there are tigers below her as well. She then notices that a mouse is gnawing away at the vine to which she is clinging. She also sees a beautiful little bunch of strawberries close to her, growing out of a clump of grass. She looks up, and she looks down, she looks at the mouse. Then she just takes a strawberry, puts it in her mouth, and enjoys it thoroughly. Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life; it might be the only strawberry we’ll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life.”
― Pema Chödrön

I found this perfect philosophical paragraph at Shelagh Duffett's place. I call it a place, rather than a blog, because Shelagh has carved out an internet space of such rare and bright beauty that I feel I am a guest in her splendid Nova Scotia home, not just a reader lurking on a blog.

Today I went to her Alice in Paris Loves Art and Tea site to see what was new and when the page opened my mouth actually opened up in a completely round circle and I said "oh" out loud. For there, in front of me, was a painting of such high exuberance that a smile washed over me from head to happy toe. 

I am such a fan of Shelagh's paintings. I bought one of her calendars and it hangs in my office at work. Sometimes when stress gets the better of me I look at it and just have to smile. Such brilliant, colourful splendiosity. Yes, I made up that word because there are no words that accurately describe how her work makes me feel. 

While I was visiting Mizz Duffett I sat in a lawnchair surrounded by forget-me-nots and went to a trendy coffee shop which sold decadent homemade chocolates, beautiful cappuccino from Italy and tiny, strange and beautiful skeleton dioramas. We visited an art gallery together and talked wildly about a dress made of steak, then had lunch with her mum. Finally I sat with her at the edge of the Atlantic, hearing grass whispering in the breeze and watching impossibly blue waves crash against the shore.


Shelagh, it was such a nice visit. Please, let's do it again soon.

20 comments:

  1. Sometimes we have to stop and enjoy the moment.

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    1. Agreed! And as I get older, Alex, I find myself eating more and more of those tiny perfect strawberries.

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  2. Wow, Cathy, you HAVE to come and visit. We will roam around all the wonderful places Nova Scotia has to offer and eat and chat and laugh and solve the problems of the world together!

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  3. An award awaits you on my bloggie! :)

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  4. I so agree with you. Shelagh's art is beautiful! It kind of reminds me of the artwork of the Huichol folk art, which I've always loved - http://www.peyotepeople.com/art.htm

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    1. Will check it out, Rubye, thanks for the link!

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    2. Wow... that yarn art is stunning. The colours and the detail are amazing. I love the first one under Eliseo Castrol's name, the happy sun. And Jose C's stuff? So detailled! Wow! The wolves or coyotes blew me away. It's the colours and the whimsy that may remind you of Shelagh's work, I think.

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  5. Enjoy the moment...animals already know how to do this; we can learn much from them. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Enjoy the moment...animals already know how to do this. We can learn much from them. Thank you for sharing. Great post.

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    1. :) Thanks again, Linda!!! I was repeating myself on Blogger yesterday, too. Sometimes Blogger has a couple or three screws loose.

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  7. When you're down to your last dollar, buy some bread and a rose.

    Thanks for your delightful post!

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  8. I just love the painting she is holding in the photo. I'm going to take a look at the rest of her collection.

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    1. Have fun, Clarissa! She really is talented!

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  9. Ds discovered Shelagh Duffett’s art on EBay some years ago, and it became a nightly ritual to visit her website and look at her art galleries before calling it a day. We own six originals, framed and hanging, and I used one of them (with Ms. Duffett’s permission) on my website.
    The art is MARVELOUS. Your parable said it- a strawberry bursting with life

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  10. Life is not perfect: strawberries attracts black flies.
    the Ol'Buzzard

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  11. Shelagh is just the most wonderful human being: full of amazing energy, keeper of a kind heart, and endowed with such enviable talent! I love this piece on her! I hope you do get to sit with her on the edge of the Atlantic someday; I bet you'd have a fine cup of tea and the most memorable and inspiring conversation.

    (Thanks for the wonderful comment you just left on my blog! xo)

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